Drum Birthing Ceremony
In January 2015 some of us in Melbourne participated in a ceremony to birth a new drum, which we awoke in Feb at full moon. It was such a beautiful process, that I wanted to share so you get to experience it vicariously and appreciate this form of sacred ceremony ...
The drums were birthed in a TeePee and the whole process was shrouded in ritual, offerings and prayers. We exchanged sacred tobacco (mapacho) and this was used as part of the ceremony and also placed in tiny ornamental pouches attached to each drum.
We were invited to connect to and thank the animals who had given their lives for the skins, and this really set a tone of reverence for the whole process.
What I found fascinating, was the moment I stepped into the TeePee, and before we had began the preparation process; I was already aware that I was in a Shamanic State of Conscious. I was connecting with all the times I will play the drums, the sacred spirits who had a vested interest in the healing that the drums would facilitate, the souls of those that will benefit from the healings, and the energies that would be melded with the final creation. It was like the soul of the drum was making its presence felt (like a child’s spirit sometimes does before it’s conceived); and we were also perceiving the entire existence of the life of the drum. This leant an air of diligent responsibility and respect for the tradition.
I also felt that somehow I was implicating myself in a serious healing tradition and I had better show appropriate respect and reverence since I was being allowed to call into existence and wield a very potent healing instrument that should be treated and used responsibly.
We quietly set the intensions for the drums use and the qualities and healing that would be induced from its playing. The Mexican guide shared the belief of his tradition that no ceremony can start unless the drum is present (NO drum = No ceremony); regardless of the type of gathering. He also spoke about connecting to the BEING that is birthed and look after it as if it were a child and giving it pride of place at his alter when not being used.
The whole day was spent fashioning the physical drum, cutting hides, weaving and platting string (also made from Deer skin); whilst tuning into the energy of our intentions and soaking these into the fabric of the drum.
After Day one we had completed the physical part of making the drums; which had to be left to rest. It would be another two weeks, before we returned to wake them up.
The drum waking was another beautiful ceremony...
Grand father fire was invited into the space and all the ancestors, the four directions, elements and elders were paid their respects and invited to participate. We all gave an offering of Tobacco to be shared and smoked with prayers of thanks and spoken intentions. The Chanupa (traditional ceremony pipe) had to be passed around with our left hands (so it was held near the heart) and we took turns filling it with mapacho whilst speaking our intentions.
After the pipe ceremony we breathed life into our drums; which symbolically meant we were merging our essence with it - for it is to be an extension of our energy. We then gently tapped the drums with fingers to hear its first sounds like a child uttering its first words. We were encouraged to get to know the sound of our drum and listen to what it has to say and how it speaks. Next we taught it its first Rhythm (again with fingers) and gradually progressed to using the sticks (which we had also crafted out of sacred trees like acacia).
By the end of the ceremony we had progressed to playing a continuous traditional drum rhythm in unison.
The spirits were thanked, the drums had been awoken and we departed cradling our new children - Aho ...